Grantwriting In Valued Environments Project

Grantwriting In Valued Environments (G.I.V.E.) is a BTU Priority Investment project in the English Department that advances students' professional writing goals by connecting their coursework to the writing needs of small non-profit organizations in the Baltimore/Washington region.

Guiding Principles & Vision

This project takes the stance that privilege is meant to be shared, and this act of sharing takes a lifetime of effort. The project is centered around the historical and contemporary connections between Baltimore City, Towson University, and other local communities in the sense that writing is practiced as a way to advocate for full and equal participation of all groups. We acknowledge the legacies of injustice in Maryland, and we see how the work we do can have a positive impact on our collective futures.

The curriculum balances the practical aspects of workplace writing with theorizing and reflecting specifically on the social and cultural climate of Baltimore City, what NPOs do here, why they do it, and on writing in relation to communities, advocacy, and altruism.

Our purpose

  • Offer small, community NPOs in the Baltimore/Washington region a chance to compete in a philanthropic economy that necessitates receiving income from more than just private donations and fundraising events
  • Research, write, submit, and track grants for our partners
  • Provide narrative and text that helps tell the story of organizations
  • Offer help with other writing genres such as web content, e-newsletters, etc.
  • Develop students professional goals related to the non-profit sector

SUCCESSES

  • G.I.V.E. participants have raised $229,530 in grants, all funds going directly to area NPOs.
  • Participating TU students have been hired as grant and proposal writers and grants administrators by Johns Hopkins, The Maryland Food Bank (grants manager raises $7.3 million a year), Parks & People Foundation, CCBC, Kittleson & Associates, FEi Systems (Columbia), The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and more.

G.I.V.E. is embedded within TU undergraduate and graduate level curriculum, providing participants the opportunity for real world application while receiving course credit. Two classes spend their semester working on projects—from writing grant proposals to leading writing workshops—for G.I.V.E. community partners.

COURSE OFFERINGs

ENGL 401 Grant and Advocacy Writing (3)

History, theory, and practice of writing in public, non-profit, democratic, and humanitarian spaces. May include the study of rhetoric, writing, and communication as it applies to: service learning, community engagement, community organizing, grants, fundraising, charity drives, advocacy, social movements, e-newsletters, social media, public service announcements, and public relations. Prerequisite: Two ENGL courses.

PRWR 619 Communications in the Profit/Nonprofit Sector

Communication process, with special emphasis on writing, within the profit/nonprofit organization. Theories of organization, management styles, and relationship of written messages to the function of climate of the profit/nonprofit organization. Strategies of preparing written communication to meet internal and external needs. Prerequisite: Admission to MPW program or consent of instructor.

 

Participating Students

  • Interact with professionals from outside TU
  • Build professional relationships
  • Enjoy practical writing assignments
  • Often realize they want to work in the philanthropic sector and/or create content that impacts the world in a positive way
  • Become facilitators of language and advocates for constituents that aren’t able to always speak up or write for themselves
  • Use their privilege and education to convey to others the particular needs of communities that are less privileged
  • Obtain internships, enter graduate school and land dream jobs

The University Community

  • Receives validation of the importance of and responsibility to our proximity to Baltimore and to philanthropy
  • Advances its goals related to diversity and inclusion
  • Demonstrates 21st century skills for English and other Liberal Arts majors